The BMW M3 rival will be offered with a similar power output to the company’s recently unveiled GT sports car, with which it effectively shares its engine, when it arrives in UK dealerships early next year. Customers will, however, be able to place orders for the new C63 next month.

The new car, officially named the Mercedes-AMG C63, will begin being delivered in saloon guise from February and in estate form from April, with sleeker coupé and cabriolet variants planned for introduction by the end of next year as part of a four-strong model line-up.

The C63 is the second model to adopt AMG’s new twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, which receives a fresh M177 codename in this latest incarnation owing to a lack of dry sump oil scavenging among other detail changes that differentiate it from the M178-designated unit used by the GT.

In line with the recent new model strategy at AMG, the 4.0-litre unit is being offered in two differing outputs, depending on model.

In keeping with the downsizing trend evident across the Mercedes-Benz line-up of late, the new engine gives away a considerable 2226cc in swept volume to the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre engine that has powered the C63 since its introduction in 2007. Despite this, AMG’s latest model packs more power and torque than its direct predecessor.

In the new C63, the M177 engine delivers 469bhp at 5500rpm and 479lb ft between 1750 and 6250rpm – respective 18bhp and 37lb ft increases on the old model’s peaks of 451bhp and 442lb ft.

With added turbocharger boost pressure, the downsized AMG engine endows the new C63 S with an even more potent 503bhp at the same 5500rpm, along with 516lb ft from 1750 to 6250rpm, giving it 23bhp and 74lb ft more than the old C63 equipped with the optional Performance Package. It is also more than the previous limited volume C63 Edition 507, which had 500bhp and 450lb ft.

With a kerb weight some 15kg below that of its predecessor at 1640kg in saloon guise, the new C63’s power-to-weight ratio has risen by 14bhp per tonne over its direct predecessor to 286bhp per tonne.

The C63 S saloon tips the scales at the same kerb weight as the old model, at 1655kg, giving it an even sharper 304bhp per tonne, or 14bhp more than the car it replaces.

Channelling the sturdy reserves to the rear wheels is an updated version of AMG’s seven-speed Speedshift MCT automatic gearbox.

Combined with remote steering wheel-mounted aluminium shift paddles, it offers the driver the choice of up to five different modes via a so-called AMG Dynamic Select programme: C (controlled efficiency), S (sport), S+ (sport plus) and, exclusively in the C63 S, R (race).

AMG’s official performance claims reveal that the C63 saloon has taken a significant step forward in terms of straight-line speed with a 0-62mph time that undercuts its predecessor by 0.4sec, at just 4.1sec – the same figure BMW quotes for its latest M3 in automatic form.

Inside, the standard C-class front seats have been replaced by a set of thinly padded AMG sports seats as well as a flat-bottomed multi-function AMG steering wheel, unique instrument graphics, stainless steel-faced pedals and AMG-specific trims.

Optional upgrades include carbon-ceramic brake discs and a performance exhaust system which features a flap that opens in three steps dependant on the gearbox mode the driver chooses.

Pricing is yet to be revealed, though it will remain under £60,000, meaning only a small increase over the £58,475 of today’s car.